George Karlaftis - EDGE - Purdue
Welcome to the rookie profile for George Karlaftis. Karlaftis has just about every attribute apart from his length to become a superstar pass-rusher. One of the most talented players in this year’s draft class and whilst Thibodeaux and Hutchinson are getting all the plaudits in this loaded EDGE class, rest assured Karlaftis isn’t too far behind them both if at all.
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 275 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.69s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: DNP
Broad Jump: DNP
Bench Press: DNP
Karlaftis is a former 4 star recruit out of West Lafayette high school and his pass rush dominance had already caught the Nation’s attention before he even hit the college arenas. Karlaftis was in high demand out of high school career with offers from Alabama, Ohio State, USC and Clemson to name a few however he opted for Purdue as he had family links with the University of Purdue as well as a good relationship with their coaching staff; Jeff Brohm and Nick Holt.
It’s safe to say that Karlaftis made an impressive start to his college career as he was named a First-Team Associated Press Freshman having racked up 54 tackles, a forced fumble and led Purdue with 17 tackles for a loss and 7.5 sacks.
Unfortunately for Karlaftis his 2020 sophomore season was interrupted by injury and he also tested positive for COVID so he was only able to muster up 2 games on the season and recorded 4 tackles and a sack in each game on the year.
2021 was a year where Karlaftis more than made up for his injury hit season as he played 667 snaps on the year whilst chalking up 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles along with a further 14 QB hits and a mammoth 35 hurries. Karlaftis was shortlisted as one of the five finalists for the Ted Hendricks Award for the best defensive end in college football which he missed out on fellow EDGE, Aidan Hutchinson, won the award. Karlaftis received consensus first-team All-Big 10 honors, the first defensive player from the Purdue program to achieve this feat since Kawann Short in 2012.
Karlaftis is more of a traditional defensive end as opposed to a pure edge rusher. A Greek freak who is Hercules-like in his efforts, his exceptional motor alongside his nastiness as a rage finisher made him one of the most feared defenders in college football.
Possessing an exceptional first step which is springy and explosive from a two and a three-point stance. He wins corners as an outside rusher and will shoot the gaps on the interior consistently; this gives him a good level of speed to power move. For a man of his size he can dip and bend quite well and often does his best work with an initial dip of the outside shoulder to get under opposing tackles with ease.
Karlaftis offers versatility which NFL teams will be looking for as he can rush from the two and three-point stance and has the speed to stand up in space. His strength makes him a great bull rusher and his energy won’t drop. His size and speed allow him to play several roles at the next level and he’s had success when used as an interior and outside rusher.
Strength is a key element to Karlaftis’ game, and it hits you like a ten-tonne truck when you watch him play. He’s immovable and will move lineman aside with ease, he’s an absolute destructor and is a Quarterbacks worst nightmare.
All in all the thing that impresses me the most is his overall athleticism. Considering his size, he moves exceptionally well and shows a great burst of speed, and will change direction quickly and smoothly. Combined with good football IQ, awareness, and instincts he will be an instant impact player in the NFL.
Karlaftis shows excellent athleticism however whilst his bend is good it will need more improvement to become effective in the NFL and to get around the edge against the elite, this will help him with turning corners much easier and help him get to the quarterback much more easily. Lacks flexibility in his legs and ankles which prevents him being able to fly around the outside track. This is a main reason why Karlaftis isn’t put in the same tier as Hutchinson and Thibodeaux as NFL teams tend to prefer the more flexible and speedy EDGE rushers.
Karlaftis must show signs of improvement when he plays against the run. He needs to shed blockers a little quicker to become an NFL playmaker in the ground game. Often neutralized in the run game all too often by opponents simply running at him.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 1
The New York Giants will be looking for help on a pass rush that struggled all season and ranked 26th in sacks, 28th in QB hits and 24th in QB hurries and it’s apparent that they need a top class pass rusher. It’ll be a safe bet to say that Thibodeaux and Hutchinson will be off the board by the time the Giants are on the clock and the next man to step up at the EDGE position is: George Karlaftis.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not a move I’m high on at all; Karlafis typically is more suited to a 4-3 rather than a 3-4 that the Giants typically deploy. One thing I do like though, Karlaftis lined up next to Leonard Williams will make an instant impact and cause offenses all sorts of problems.